UPDATE: (APR. 9TH): Two Bodies Resembling Missing New York Couple Found in the Dominican Republic
The families of a New York couple are in a frantic search to find their loved ones after they failed to return from a romantic getaway in the Dominican Republic nearly two weeks ago.
Orlando Moore and his girlfriend Portia Ravenelle were expected to return to the States on March 27, however, the couple has seemingly vanished without a trace. It’s been confirmed that they never boarded their scheduled return flight and their phones have been turned off.
“This is definitely not my brother,” Lashay Turner, Moore’s half-sister, told NBC. “He’s not going to run off on a hiatus and don’t tell his family and his daughter. I’m scared, I don’t know what’s going on.”
Moore and Ravenelle checked out of the all-inclusive resort, the Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa, on the evening of March 26th, but never made it to their 2 a.m. flight.
Their white Kia rental was also never returned. Meanwhile, their personal vehicle remained unclaimed at Newark Liberty International airport in New Jersey.
Canadian Cheryl Freeman may be one of the last people to see Moore and Ravenelle before their mysterious disappearance. Freeman and her boyfriend met the couple on March 25th while having breakfast at the resort. The two couples made plans to spend time together.
“They were very sweet people,” Freeman said. “Orlando is so friendly he could make friends with anyone.”
On March 26—Moore and Ravenelle’s intended final day in the Caribbean—the two couples lounged by the resort pool and went sightseeing.
They also visited a waterfall and went horseback riding. Photos show the foursome enjoying the excursion and drinking from pineapples.
However, throughout the day, Freeman says Ravenelle was nervous about driving around the area by themselves later that night to the airport, which she didn’t realize was 100 miles away.
The rental company had advised her not to roll down their windows for locals because they knew how to spot rental cars and attempt to mug tourists.
The couples finished their night by splitting a bottle of rum at a local disco.
According to Freeman, Ravenelle again “appeared nervous” about the upcoming late-night drive to the airport.
Freeman last saw the couple around 9:30 or 10 p.m. as they went to their room to pack. Freeman’s boyfriend sent an email to Moore wishing them a safe flight, but never got a response.
They didn’t realize their vacation buddies were missing until arriving home in Canada and discovering several emails from Ravenelle’s family.
As of this report, Freeman says she hasn’t been contacted by law enforcement.
Lashay Turner, Moore’s sister, has contacted Dominican Republic authorities, but says she has gotten little information.
However, the Dominican Republican National Police captain confirmed to CNN that they are investigating the couple’s disappearance and are planning to release details to the public.
Turner also contacted the U.S. Embassy and Customs in DR. Her inquiries confirmed Moore and Ravenelle checked out of the hotel, but never caught their flight.
A U.S. Department of State official stated:
“When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts and share information with families however we can.
“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to U.S. citizens in need and to their families.”
“When things happen, you always think of the worst, but we are hoping for the best,” Edith Walters, Moore’s grandmother, said.